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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It’s About Legacy–Cotto or Mosley??

I often catch the black and white fights on ESPN Classic. Heck I set the DVR to record the Ringside episodes of Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Muhummad Ali. Or I just go on Youtube and watch old fights of the greats that I read about as a youngster. Every time I watch those films or glimpses. I realize that is what it is all about. It is isn’t about the money. Yes money is great, they and us could all use a little more. Some more then others. It is about that time when they were kids when they laced up the gloves for the first time in that musty smelling gym. It is about the time they fought their first amateur fight, it is about the first time they were declared world champion. Folks it is about legacy. In 2020 or 2030 when your kids, or mine pop in a fight tape. They will want to hear the stories about when Manny Pacquiao fought Juan Manuel Marquez in 2004, or when Sugar Shane Mosley fought Oscar De La Hoya at the Staples Center in 2000. Legacies and stories are the allure of the sport of boxing. It is what separates boxing from MMA and most other sports. So I wanted to examine what fight would leave the greatest legacy for the sport. Would Pacquiao-Mosley fight or a Pacquiao-Cotto fight be the best for boxing history. We all know both are deserving of fighting Pacman. But in the end which fight would leave the most memories.

Miguel Cotto
The Skinny: Tremendous offensive fighter. He can punch with either hand. Underrated boxing skills. Good jab, uses it with great timing to offset his lack of great speed. Left hook to the body is one of the most damaging punches in the Welterweight division. Excellent heart, willing to fight through cuts. Class act. Loyal following, sells out shows at Madison Square at the drop of a dime. Former WBO Jr. Welterweight Champion, WBA Welterweight Champion…Current WBO Welterweight Champion. 34-1-27 Knockouts

Drawbacks: Not popular with Mainstream sports fans. Questionable chin. He has been hurt in fights with Zab Judah, Mosley, Antonio Margarito, and Ricardo Torres. Tires at the end of fights, doesn’t close the show all the time. His last 3 fights that went 11 plus rounds he noticably tired. Knocked out 2 fights ago by Margarito.(TKO)

Shane Mosley
The Skinny: One of the fastest fighters of his generation. 2nd best lightweight since Roberto Duran. (Pernell Whitaker rates higher)Legendary offensive fighter, tremendous body puncher. Right hand and left hook both damaging and have knocked out fighters. Underrated power. Good defensive when he wants to be, but often times neglects it to go on the offensive. Closes the show, excellent heart, and Class Act. 1st ballot Hall of Famer. Former IBF Lightweight Champion, WBC/World Welterweight Champion, WBA/Ring/World/WBC Jr. Middleweight Champion. Current WBA/Cyberboxingzone lineal Welterweight Champion. 46-5 -39 Knockouts.

Drawbacks: Age, will be 38 this fall. Not a huge gate attraction. Troubled by fighters who execute and use the jab effectively. Is succeptiable to the right hand. Even though Shane is a great boxer, he can be outboxed at times. Lack of ability to change style when in trouble.(1st Forrest fight)

The Verdict:
I laid it out for you guys. If Manny Pacquiao beats Shane Mosley, people can say 2 things. You beat a legend, and you are now the Welterweight Champion. 7 titles in 7 divisions. Or they will say, you beat an old Shane who was weight drained.
If you beat Cotto you could say, you beat Miguel Cotto and now you are the WBO Welterweight Champion. You beat an excellent fighter who is closer to his prime. Or they could say, you beat Miguel Cotto, he was shot, he was knocked out by Margarito, and he almost lost to Joshua Clottey.

In the end it comes down to this, in my opinion. If Manny Pacquiao manages to beat Miguel Cotto, where will that sit in History? More questions will be asked, like how good was Cotto really? Or what has he ever done? A win over Miguel Cotto will say more about Miguel Cotto then it would be about Manny Pacquiao. I know what Pacquiao is, he is a legend. I know what Shane Mosley is, he is a legend too, a step below Pacquiao. But I don’t know what Miguel Cotto is. Excellent fighter, yes, but an all time great. That remains to be seen. If Manny beats Miguel Cotto, won’t we be talking about Miguel Cotto just like we did Fernando Vargas after Oscar De La Hoya beat him in 2002, or Jermain Taylor after he lost to Carl Froch this year. That is why I think Mosley is the best fight. It is the best fight for history. And it is the best fight for those ESPN Classics that we will be watching in 2030.

Not About the Money
Does Shane Mosley really want to fight Manny Pacquaio? Yeah he does badly. Is he begging? You could say that, but I like it when fighters really want to fight, do we want him to say, “no I don’t want to fight the best fighter in the world.” Is he doing it only for the money? No, and if you think that you are pretty foolish. I recently interviewed Sugar Shane Mosley, and the word that came up over and over again was, “Legacy.” It wasn’t money. Shane is one of the 10 highest paid fighters since 2000. He disclosed his net worth to me, and it is more then he will ever be able to spend in his lifetime.

Yes money is nice, I like it. I need more of it. But when guys like Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley talk about fighting. They are talking about those times as teenagers and young pros when they were fighting for scraps at small local club shows. They love what they do. I bet if they could, if nobody was watching, they would go to a local gym and duke it out it without much fanfare. They are fighters through and through. It is about the legacy that they leave behind. They are generational fighters that will hopefully get a chance to meet in the ring. As of today. it is around a 90% chance Manny fights Cotto. While that is a great fight and Cotto is more then deserving, I am pulling for the 10% chance that Manny changes his mind and goes after Mosley and history.

Source: boxing24.com

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